HANOVER, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls are just two days away from hosting the Houston Dynamo, but Tim Cahill’s role in the match still has not been determined.
The Australian international played for the first time in three matches by contributing 27 minutes off the bench in the Red Bulls’ 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union last Wednesday, but said afterwards that he was not 100 percent healthy despite being able to play.
On Monday, New York head coach Mike Petke said his club still needs to figure out how much of a workload Cahill can carry before deciding if he can start Wednesday's home game vs. Houston (7:30 pm ET, MLS Live).
“Tim needs to feel 100 percent before we come back [with him as a starter], for his sake and for our sake,” Petke told reporters after Monday’s training session. “It’s important that we get him back.
"Having said that, we’ll figure it out tomorrow and do what’s best for him and the team. He did get some minutes vs. Philly, but if he’s not feeling 100 percent then we need to protect him and protect us as well.”
Cahill did not practice with his teammates on the field on Monday. Instead, he did specific exercises to help heal the hamstring injury that he suffered in a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA on March 30.
Two recovering players who were spotted on the field at the Red Bulls’ practice facility were Richard Eckersley (ankle) and Bobby Convey (hamstring). Both did individual work with the Red Bulls’ training staff, and Petke said the two veterans are getting closer to making their full returns after missing multiple games with their respective knocks.
“They’re slowly coming along. They’re not far away at all,” said Petke. “Obviously, they won’t be involved in the game on Wednesday night, but they’re out here running intensely so very big improvements. We are looking at them after this game as possibilities for the weekend [at Columbus]. If not, the game after.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by e-mail at Franco8813@gmail.com.